Merced (Spanish for "Mercy") is a city in, and the county seat of, Merced County, California, United States, in the San Joaquin Valley. As of 2019, the city had a population of 83,676. Incorporated on April 1, 1889, Merced is a charter city that operates under a council-manager government. It is named after the Merced River, which flows nearby.
Merced, known as the "Gateway to Yosemite," is less than two hours by automobile from Yosemite National Park to the east and Monterey Bay, the Pacific Ocean, and multiple beaches to the west. The community is served by the passenger rail service Amtrak, a minor, heavily subsidized airline through Merced Regional Airport, and three bus lines. It is approximately 110 miles (180 km) from Sacramento, 130 miles (210 km) from San Francisco, 45 miles (72 km) from Fresno, and 270 miles (430 km) from Los Angeles.
In 2005, the city became home to the 10th University of California campus, University of California, Merced (UC Merced), the first research university built in the U.S. in the 21st century.
Since 2005, Merced has been home to University of California, Merced. Current recreational opportunities in the city include Applegate Park and zoo, Bear and Black Rascal Creeks and their bike trails, a skate park located in Applegate, Playhouse Merced, a live-stage theater downtown, two first-run movie theaters, The Mainzer Theater which is known for its historic and architectural value, the County Courthouse Museum circa 1889, the Merced Multicultural Arts Center and the County Library. Though still growing, Merced has several shopping areas including the Merced Mall, anchored by Target, JCPenney and Kohl's, a strip mall located on the city's northwest side which includes, Barnes & Noble, Lowe's, Walmart, and several restaurants.